Federal Courthouse in Sioux Falls Evacuated over White Powder in Envelope
It may have been a false alarm, but the necessary precautions were taken to ensure the safety of all involved.
White powder in an envelope forced the evacuation of the Federal Courthouse building in Sioux Falls on Monday. Two people were initially exposed to the substance and authorities were summoned just before noon.
Local resident Kent David Benson saw the entire scene unfold and was gracious for the efforts of the safety crews involved. Plus, Benson noted that the employees didn't stray too far from the area.
"The employees were all lined up and down (near an adjacent building). The police had the street cordoned off and I saw a couple of the firemen in haz-mat suits. They were here for quite a long time."
Just over an hour later employees were allowed back into the building to resume normal operations.
Officials were able to tell early in the testing phase that the substance in the envelope was not anthrax. It was later announced that the substance was harmless but would undergo further testing.
Additionally, there was a note included in the envelope along with the white powder. However, the contents of the letter were not revealed.
KDLT News reported that the U.S. Marshal's Service, FBI, Postal Inspection Service, Sioux Falls Police Department and Sioux Falls Fire Rescue were on scene to assist in the investigation.